Born in 1944 as Laxmi Narayan Singh, Pandit Lacchu Maharaj has been the recipient of several accolades. The tabla maestro, who was brought up in Varanasi, trained under his father, Vasudev Maharaj, and started performing on stage from a fairly young age. Although his talent was never doubted, the maestro did not find much fame during his lifetime. It was his namesake and famous kathak dancer Lachhu Maharaj who received most of the adulation. Celebrating his 74th birth anniversary, Google on Tuesday paid tribute with a doodle of him on its homepage.
During his lifetime, Pandit Lacchu Maharaj performed with various artistes but it was his solo performances that are best remembered. After smoking a chillum, he would go on to play for a few hours as the audience sat enthralled and mesmerised. “What was interesting was that in all those hours, there would never be any repetition. He would keep showcasing new gats, tukras and parans (compositional forms) for all that time, leaving his audiences mesmerised,” Girija Devi, who had accompanied him on stage, had said.
Watch his perform here.
ALSO READ | The Last Beat
As a form of protest, the table maestro had apparently played the tabla inside the prison during Emergency and refused the awards that were given to him, including Padma Shri. “Applause from the audience is any artiste’s prize. He/she does not need anything else,” he was often heard saying.